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FEATURED

Vodacom Super Rugby Preview – Round 16

PUBLISHED: June 28, 2012



Milestones beckon and winning streaks are on the line as Vodacom Super Rugby resumes after the June test break.

Two South African derbies are on the cards – in Cape Town the DHL Stormers host the MTN Lions, while the Toyota Cheetahs travel to Pretoria to face the Vodacom Bulls as they chase their best ever Vodacom Super Rugby season.

The DHL Stormers and the Vodacom Bulls have not lost to their respective opponents for this weekend since the Cats disbanded to form the MTN Lions and the Toyota Cheetahs at the end of the 2005 competition.

Springbok midfielder Wynand Olivier will earn his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby cap, all in the blue of the Vodacom Bulls.

Furthermore, Morné Steyn will be chasing 200 points for 2012 at Loftus Versfeld, while three players in action at DHL Newlands, Joe Pietersen, Peter Grant and Elton Jantjies, will have a century of Vodacom Super Rugby points in their sights on Saturday.

Note: For all the South African team announcements, fixtures, results, logs, live score updates, top points and try scorers as well as and match summaries, click here.

DHL Stormers v MTN Lions

The DHL Stormers will be looking to build on their brilliant Vodacom Super Rugby victory in Pretoria before the break when they host the MTN Lions at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.

But the MTN Lions will also be heading into this match on the back of a win, as they beat The Sharks for only their second victory of the 2012 season at Coca-Cola Park during Round 15 early in June.

However, the MTN Lions will have to turn around an unflattering record against the DHL Stormers – the men from Johannesburg have never beaten their Cape counterparts in Vodacom Super Rugby. The closest they got was last year at DHL Newlands when the DHL Stormers won 19-16 despite being outscored by two tries to one.

Peter Grant and Elton Jantjies featured on the score sheet that day and on Saturday the two respective flyhalves can make it to 100 Vodacom Super Rugby series points, along with DHL Stormers fullback Joe Pietersen.

Pietersen is the closest to the century mark on 97 points in 2012, while Grant needs six points (he is on 94) and Jantjies eight (on 92) to pass 100 points for the season.

And even though the MTN Lions are reeling after a turbulent season, DHL Stormers captain Jean de Villiers, who will also lead the Springboks for the remainder of the season, knows where his team’s focus should be as the playoffs loom.

“The Lions have a lot to play for, but we are playing for something bigger,” said De Villiers.

“As long as the hunger and desire is there to win the tournament, we’ll do well. We are playing for something special and that will make Saturday a great challenge.”

Former Springbok lock Johan Ackermann, now the MTN Lions’ acting head coach, realises his team faces a tough trip to Cape Town.

“There is a feeling we need to keep things straight and simple, and that the players are comfortable with the game plan,” said Ackermann.

“On Saturday, it will be more a question of how well we execute our game plan. We know it will take an 80 minute effort. We need to be mentally strong this weekend.”

 

Head to head (since 2006)

DHL Stormers   MTN Lions
8 Won 0
0 Lost 8
0 Drawn 0
233 Points for 118
118 Points against 233
24 Tries scored 10
10 Tries conceded 24

 

DHL Stormers v MTN Lions

Date: 30 June

SA Time: 17:05

Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town

Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)

Assistant referees: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina), Jason Jaftha (South Africa)

Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

Vodacom Bulls v Toyota Cheetahs

Wynand Olivier will become the 15th South African player to reach 100 Vodacom Super Rugby caps this weekend when the Vodacom Bulls host the Toyota Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday evening.

Olivier will add his name to those of Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn and Jacques Botes, who have all reached a century of Vodacom Super Rugby in 2012.

Furthermore Steyn, the top points’ scorer in two of the last three seasons, can become the first player in 2012 to reach 200 competition points – he is currently on 193 points for the season and a converted try will push him past the double century (provided he scores and converts it himself).

And while Steyn and Olivier will provide the bulk of the experience for the home team, the visitors will travel to Pretoria with two debutants in their pack – prop Marcel van der Merwe and flank Lappies Labuschagne will both get their first taste of Vodacom Super Rugby at Loftus.

Nine of the Vodacom Bulls’ players played in the recent series against England while four more were part of the squad but never got any game time.

“We are lucky to have all our players back from international duty injury free and ready to go,” said Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.

“The series win against England will do wonders for their confidence, while those not involved with the Boks are refreshed and ready to go. Our Springboks are not international players for nothing, they have the mental strength to recover quickly from disappointing performances.”

Thus far, the Toyota Cheetahs have won five of their 13 matches this season – the same as in 2007, 2010 and 2011 – meaning one more win will make 2012 their best ever season.

Naka Drotske, whose Toyota Cheetahs team will be hoping to win their first ever Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Vodacom Bulls this weekend, said his team is ready for the challenge.

“We’re very excited to be going to Pretoria,” said Drotske.

“Only two of our players were involved with the Boks recently and the rest of the squad prepared well and also got some necessary rest. We need one win to make it our best season yet and we’re very motivated to go to Loftus and do well.”

Head to head (since 2006)

 

Vodacom Bulls

  Toyota Cheetahs
8 Won 0
0 Lost 8
0 Drawn 0
302 Points for 175
175 Points against 302
38 Tries scored 20
20 Tries conceded 38

Vodacom Bulls v Toyota Cheetahs

Date: 30 June

SA Time: 19:10

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)

Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

Other fixtures (SA times):

Friday, June 29

09:35: Highlanders v Chiefs (Dunedin)

11:40: Rebels v Reds (Melbourne)

Saturday, June 30

09:35: Crusaders v Hurricanes (Christchurch)

11:40: Force v Brumbies (Perth)

Byes: The Sharks, Blues, Waratahs

Vodacom Super Rugby Logs:

Combined Log

Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA BPts Pts
1 Chiefs (NS leader) 13 11 0 2 371 281 90 40 22 6 58
2 DHL Stormers (SA leader) 13 11 0 2 284 210 74 22 16 2 54
3 Brumbies (Aus leader) 13 8 0 5 341 269 72 35 23 9 49
4 Crusaders (Wild card) 13 9 0 4 397 275 122 39 27 7 51
5 Vodacom Bulls (Wild card) 13 8 0 5 385 293 92 39 28 9 49
6 Hurricanes (Wild card) 14 8 0 6 438 382 56 53 35 9 45
7 The Sharks 14 8 0 6 370 323 47 39 30 9 45
8 Highlanders 14 9 0 5 325 339 -14 32 28 4 44
9 Reds 13 8 0 5 276 301 -25 28 30 4 44
10 Toyota Cheetahs 13 5 0 8 346 371 -25 31 36 8 36
11 Waratahs 14 4 0 10 315 356 -41 29 37 10 30
12 Rebels 13 4 0 9 292 425 -133 28 49 5 29
13 Force 13 3 0 10 256 342 -86 24 37 7 27
14 MTN Lions 13 2 0 11 243 364 -121 22 41 4 20
15 Blues 14 2 0 12 297 405 -108 27 49 7 19

South African Conference

Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA BPts Pts
1 DHL Stormers 13 11 0 2 284 210 74 22 16 2 54
2 Vodacom Bulls 13 8 0 5 385 293 92 39 28 9 49
3 The Sharks 14 8 0 6 370 323 47 39 30 9 45
4 Toyota Cheetahs 13 5 0 8 346 371 -25 31 36 8 36
5 MTN Lions 13 2 0 11 243 364 -121 22 41 4 20

New Zealand Conference

Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA BPts Pts
1 Chiefs 13 11 0 2 371 281 90 40 22 6 58
2 Crusaders 13 9 0 4 397 275 122 39 27 7 51
3 Hurricanes 14 8 0 6 438 382 56 53 35 9 45
4 Highlanders 14 9 0 5 325 339 -14 32 28 4 44
5 Blues 14 2 0 12 297 405 -108 27 49 7 19

 

Australian Conference

Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA BPts Pts
1 Brumbies 13 8 0 5 341 269 72 35 23 9 49
2 Reds 13 8 0 5 276 301 -25 28 30 4 44
3 Waratahs 14 4 0 10 315 356 -41 29 37 10 30
4 Rebels 13 4 0 9 292 425 -133 28 49 5 29
5 Force 13 3 0 10 256 342 -86 24 37 7 27

 

Top points’ scorers:

 

Player Team Tries Conv Pen Drops Tot
Morné Steyn Vodacom Bulls 1 28 41 3 193
Aaron Cruden Chiefs 2 33 35 0 181
Beauden Barrett Hurricanes 2 31 33 0 171
Johan Goosen Toyota Cheetahs 3 17 31 1 145
Patrick Lambie Sharks 1 20 32 0 141
Tom Taylor Crusaders 1 14 30 0 123
Mike Harris Reds 0 15 26 1 111
Christian Lealiifano Brumbies 0 17 25 0 109
Gareth Anscombe Blues 2 13 21 1 102
Joe Pietersen DHL Stormers 2 6 25 0 97
Peter Grant DHL Stormers 2 9 22 0 94
Brendan McKibbin Waratahs 1 16 19 0 94
Elton Jantjies MTN Lions 0 13 22 0 92
David Harvey Force 1 11 20 0 87
James O`Connor Rebels 2 6 20 0 82
Chris Noakes Highlanders 2 14 13 0 77
Lachie Munro Blues 3 7 9 0 56
André Taylor Hurricanes 10 1 1 0 55
Mike Delany Highlanders 0 3 16 0 54
James Stannard Force 3 3 10 0 51